Fire Department Log: By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday September 17, 2004

Skateboard Triggers Grass Fire 

A skateboard operated by an 11-year-old Berkeley resident triggered a small grass fire in the Berkeley hills on Sept. 6, reported Deputy Fire Chief David Orth. 

The reason? A skateboarder’s maneuver called “grinding,” in which the rider straddles a concrete or metal edge with his wheels the way children straddle bannisters to slide downstairs. 

“They grind along the edges of benches and curbs, and they actually grind down the concrete. That’s why they’re starting to put metal edges or barriers along the concrete in places like the Thousand Oaks School,” Orth said. 

The metal supports of the skateboarder’s wheels generated a spark, triggering the blaze. 

Fortunately, he promptly called 911, triggering a massive multi-departmental response because the 630 Hillsdale scene is in a high fire danger area which prompts an automatic response by several jurisdictions. 

The rapid response kept the fire down to a 10- by 50-foot area.